Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson
Publication Date: May 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Fairy-Tale, Romance
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
(Received for review from Sourcebooks)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Kristine Grayson (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Wickedly Charming
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
He's given up on happily-ever-after...
Cinderella's Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead end. The new owner of a bookstore, Charming has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future. That is until he meets up with Mellie...
But she may be the key to happily-right-now...
Mellie is sick and tired of stepmothers being misunderstood. Vampires have redeemed their reputation, why shouldn't stepmothers do the same? Then she runs into the handsomest most charming man she's ever met and discovers she's going about her mission all wrong.
It's only natural that sparks fly and magic, ensues when these two fairy-tale refugees put their heads - and vulnerable hearts - together.
Kristine Grayson is a pseudonym for acclaimed author Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Wickedly Charming is the story of fairy-tale characters Prince Charming, Dave and Snow White's wicked step-mother, Mellie. This modern variation on a fairy-tale theme will give readers a totally different idea of what goes on when happily-ever-after doesn't turn out quite so happy. It gives a inside glimpse into the publishing world that readers will really enjoy. Filled with wit and satire this is a must read for fairy-tale fans and romance readers alike.
Prince Charming and Cinderella have had their differences since the ball and now their relationship has ended in divorce. Charming is left reeling from the betrayal and trying to start his life over as a bookstore owner and single father. Snow White's wicked Stepmother isn't quite as wicked as the Brothers Grimm led everyone to believe. Now she is fighting to get her story heard. To show the world that all stepmothers aren't evil and that they've been given a bad rap. When the two meet at an LA book fair, they find they have a lot in common including a strong attraction. When Charming offers to ghost write a book that will set the story straight about Snow White and her step mother, there is magic in the air. Can they overcome their tragic romantic pasts and forge a future together?
I love a good fairy-tale and though this one was a bit of a change from the Brothers Grimm, it certainly put a different slant on happily-ever-after. When I was growing up fairy-tales were one of my main staples to read. I got hooked in second grade and just never outgrew the lure of magic and romance that fairy-tales possessed. When I got the opportunity to review Kristine Grayson's modern version of the fairy tale I was really excited. Updated versions, variations and fairy-tale change ups are becoming very popular and I find that they still carry that same sense of mystery and magic for me.
Grayson's story gives readers a Prince Charming that is a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more bookish than the original. I liked the fact that the author still gave him that aura of gallantry and chivalry. Charming may be going by the name Dave now, but he still gives off impression of power and elegance. I also enjoyed the fact that he was a single father. In my mind single parents are the real heroes in today's society and I liked that the author showed that in this book. His daughters were a joy to read as well. Turning the tables and making Cinderella the villain in this one was genius in my opinion.
Mellie, the misunderstood stepmother is really the highlight of this character driven novel. She is portrayed much like the evil stepmother herself in the beginning, bitter, disillusioned and down right hard to get along with, but as the story goes on readers will pick up on the fact that Mellie is just trying to hide her own vulnerability. She's scared not only of getting older, but of being alone. She isn't prepared for the feeling she starts to have for Charming and his daughters. There is always the possibility that things might turn out just as bad with these girls as it did with Snow White. I loved the whole idea of the evil stepmother becoming reformed so to speak, changing her spots, or just growing up a bit. She learns a lot throughout this book and readers will love her journey and her progression.
Grayson does a wonderful job of taking beloved fairy-tale characters and transforming them into something different but equally as entertaining to read about. I loved the characters and felt that the story was very well thought out. I liked the inside glimpse into the publishing industry as well, book lovers and writers will be very interested in this aspect of the book. I had a bit of a hard time getting started with this one, because I wasn't used to the style, there was a lot of parenthesis and asides and it was a bit disconcerting, but once I started to get into the story, this kind of subsided and it was easier to understand. Overall I really enjoyed it.
I recommend this one to fairy tale fans and romance readers. It has the aura of magic and the steam that both kinds of readers enjoy. If you are looking for something new and refreshing, mixed with something old and familiar this one is for you!
Wickedly Charming is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Before turning to romance writing, Hugo-award winning author Kristine Kathryn Rusch edited the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and ran Pulphouse Publishing (which won her a World Fantasy Award). As Kristine Grayson she has published seven novels so far, and has won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance. She lives in Oregon with her own Prince Charming, writer Dean Wesley Smith (who is not old enough to be one of the original three, but he is handsome enough) as well as the obligatory writers' cats.